Tom Tanghe, Assistant City Manager and Guest Blogger

Barista II

Perhaps the greatest reward of a career in public sector management is the interaction with the citizens and business community.  And while usually you get to only know people on the surface, sometimes you get to learn more about them and what makes them tick.  For example, on my way into the office about two or three mornings per week, I stop at the local Starbucks down the street from our office at Walton Blvd. and N. Squirrel to get coffee.  It has become a great part of my day to be greeted by the regular morning crew made up of Jen, Kenny and John.  Yes, there are others there too and they’re all great, but these are the three I see and talk with most.  I’ve gotten to the point where they are a welcome part of my morning and part of my routine.  The young man who prepares my beverage most mornings is Kenny.  One morning we were talking and he mentioned that he was in a band and that he was a singer.  Well, if you’ve ever seen American Idol, you know from watching those auditions that there are a lot of people who think they can sing.  So, being somewhat skeptical, I just smiled and nodded, and said “that’s nice”.    All I know is the guy makes a great vanilla Misto.    

So last week I was on my way into the office and I stopped to get my coffee.  A sign on the door read something like “Come see our own Barista, Kenny Nelson, perform from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Monday night, February 13th”.  The game plan was to attend with another of my co-workers, but due to a family commitment, she couldn’t go.  So I decided that since I told the morning crew I would be there, I was going to follow through.  About thirty people arrived around 6:00 p.m. and Kenny, along with his sister who is also a vocalist, and a friend of Kenny’s who is a guitar player, pulled up three stools and without much fanfare, began to sing.  Wow!  This guy can really sing.  I was having no flashbacks to a bad American Idol audition.  In fact, I could picture this guy auditioning for American Idol and actually making something happen with it. 

Unfortunately, I had a meeting to attend at 7:00 p.m., so I could only stay for about forty minutes.  I exited quietly and that was good because it gave someone who was standing the opportunity to take my seat closer to the performers.  It was a great time and this morning when I stopped for coffee, I got to hear about the rest of the evening that I missed and how the entire Starbucks (performers, staff, family, friends & customers) all sang a song together at the end of the night.  That’s the kind of thing that makes a great community and a great local coffee shop.  It also reminded me of how little we often know about the people we see every day.  Who would have thought that the guy making my coffee in the morning had so much talent?  Way to go Kenny and the entire crew at my local Starbucks

As it turns out, it sounds like an occasional performance by Kenny and company may take place from time to time at this and maybe other area Starbucks stores.  So if you happen to be at Starbucks and you see a few people sitting on stools strumming guitars and singing, it might be Kenny and his band members, so let them know that you heard about them here on our Auburn Hills blog.  These young people are truly talented.

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  • Peter Auger, Auburn Hills City Manager

    Peter Auger, Auburn Hills City Manager

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